January 21, 2006

Whales, parrots... we can't resist.

Speaking of Technorati charts and bloggers' attractions to cute animal stories, remember Ziggy the Parrot? I jumped at that one. I wasn't alone:

Posts that contain Parrot per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Lots of major media went for it too. Today, the NYT regrets falling for the cute, adding this correction:
Although the article reported that the information had been obtained from reports in The Daily Telegraph and other British newspapers, The Times could not verify the former couple's accounts because the information was given to the British press by a freelance journalist who charged for the account. The Times does not pay for information. The Times should have disclosed fully to readers why we relied on other news reports. Or, perhaps it would have been prudent, given that condition, for The Times to have resisted parroting the episode at all.

Hmmm... so people are selling the cute animal stories the web is so hungry for? I'm going to hold cute animal stories up to fiction standards from now on -- not because I think they are all made up, but because there are too many of them, we're too into them, they are the junk food of the web, and they aren't really that good. If some short story writer had come up with the Ziggy the Parrot story, you'd immediately see it for the dreck it is.

And let me take some credit: I did refuse to blog the whale story yesterday. It was like pushing away a piece of cake to start a diet.


XWL said...

But, but, but the Ziggy story was chock full of 'truthiness'.

And everyone knows that truthiness trumps truth (just ask Oprah).

(and the above sentence seriously violates my 'should sound good read aloud' policy regarding prose)

(and I charted 'kate moss naked', disappointing results)

Pete said...

I got a similar spiky chart when I tried “Nagin.”

Now, I know have no business suggesting bloggable topics but I thought it was odd you haven't mentioned anything about Nagin and his statements about a chocolate city and God’s wrath. Usually I can depend on you to have something to say about the foolishness of Pat Robertson and others who think they have a direct line on God’s intentions. This time, you let me down.

Ah, well.

THough I’ve been more than buoyed with your blogging about American Idol.



grumps said...

What if they say the parrot was a drug addict and caused all sorts of turmoil but has its act together now. Truth or fiction?

Ann Althouse said...

Pete: I deliberately avoid some things that are overplayed the moment they come out. I skipped the last stupid thing Robertson came out with (re Sharon). In fact, I don't want you to "depend on" me, in that sense. I mean to be unpredictable.

bearbee said...

Ted Kennedy and Jan 17 "Kennedy quits former Harvard club that banned women" shows brief but not as dramatic post Alito hearings spike.

Charts are reminiscent of trading charts.........